Author Fowles attacks Lyme seafront plans

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The Independent Online

John Fowles, the author, has thrown his considerable literary weight behind a campaign to block a housing development that may disfigure his home town of Lyme Regis - immortalised in his classic tale The French Lieutenant's Woman, writes Mark Rowe.

John Fowles, the author, has thrown his considerable literary weight behind a campaign to block a housing development that may disfigure his home town of Lyme Regis - immortalised in his classic tale The French Lieutenant's Woman, writes Mark Rowe.

Mr Fowles says Lyme Regis, with its distinctive sea wall, the Cobb, close to outstanding Dorset coastline, is at risk of being turned into "Surrey-by-the-Sea" by developers.

The controversy centres on plans to convert a seafront hotel into modernapartments, houses and bungalows.

The proposals, which are opposed in principle by the town council, have sparked outrage over the removal of 14 mature trees. Mr Fowles said: "These trees all give a wonderful skyline looking up from the harbour and Marine Parade. Why allow these visible trees to be given over to car parking?"

He also warned that the scheme could jeopardise a bid to have the Dorset coastline declared a World Heritage site.

"Lyme Regis is treasured by those of us who are lucky enough to live here, but it is equally loved by visitors. Let's stop destroying it and stop turning it into yet another little suburban town."

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